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Monday, 11 May 2009

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Saw what I think might have been one in a shop here in Hong Kong today. Was heading to to a lab to drop some film off, how ironic.

It had some DP2 advertising with it anyway.

And I had just had a conversation with the owner of another camera shop here (where I bought 6 rolls of 120 film, how even more ironic) about the continuous release of new digital cameras on what seems like a weekly basis ........

No problem to buy a DP2 here in Stuttgart/Germany

How big a print do you think you could reasonably make with this camera? I know that's a sort of loaded question. But I'm really happy with the 13x19 prints I've made with my 5d. Do you think this camera would be competitive with that? It's hard to judge the 14mp but 4.6mp sensor thing.

Mike,

The camera has been out for a little over a week. The initial shipments to the US appear to have been sold pretty quickly. There are photos here:

http://www.pbase.com/sigmadslr/users_dp2
(some are from prerelease cameras)

and a friend from Chicago now has his in his hands:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/chunsum/collections/72157617757697518/

Initial reports are pretty good.

Jim

so what's with the star effect on the highlight reflections? is that from the "special Sigma software"...?

The DP2 is in small amounts available in Asia already. And looks to be in good amounts available in Europe by the end of the month. I was lucky to get my hands on one already and have to say that the Image Quality is exceptional. It is still not a fast shooter but clearly more usable than the DP1 in that regard. Some of what shot can be found in full size here: http://www.pbase.com/sigmadslr/bob_van_ooik_dp2
And a few more in smaller size here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobnl/sets/72157617523142618/
I hope to find more time to shoot with it soon.

@Paul, I made prints up to at least 20x30" without much trouble from DP1.

Here is the first part of a review from Lensist: http://lensist.blogspot.com/2009/05/sigma-dp2-review-part-1-interface-and.html

Regards,
Adam

Mike, search Everyone's Uploads on Flickr and type Sigma DP2. There are a couple thousand images up there already. Tasty!

Have you seen this? He has a lot of very nice DP1 pictures elserwhere on the net too.

http://www.rytterfalk.com/2009/04/20/initial-dp2-review-with-full-size-shots/

Slightly off topic: Did the late Mr. Keppler go by Burt, Bert or Herb? I've seen all the variations in print - mostly Herb - and wondered if he had a preference. He was one of the Great Ones, and I read him religiously for years.

I found it in stock at B&H on Friday morning, but by the time I got to the "Buy" step it was sold out! On a whim tried again a few hours later and it was in stock and I was able to complete the purchase.

Rick,
I never met him, but I know he went by "Burt." If you see someone refer to him as "Herb," then that's definitely also someone who didn't know him!

He and I corresponded a number of times, and at one photo show in New York, we each went to the other's booth TWICE to say hello, and each time, each of us was left waiting! We never did manage to meet up at that show. Too bad.

Mike

I have always wanted to have a booth. For something. Anything. I'd love to sit back and look surly at people, daring them to get me to get off my stool. Yeah, a booth. that would be sweet. One day.

Check out dpreview samples #26 f4.0 and #16 f4.5 for some strange bokeh effects. Otherwise looks pretty sweet.
bd

I just had a look at the samples posted on DPReview. The image quality seems to be very good. The ISO 800 shots looked really good. The backlit foliage shots didn't seem to have much purple fringing at all. Very impressive.

"strange bokeh effects" —
Strange, because the shapes are heptagonal and not rounded? This seems to bother a lot of people, but when i consider good versus bad bokeh, this isn't an issue. As long as there are no repeated lines or doubling of shapes, i'm happy.

Isn't this what Rolleiflexes have always done?

Sorry if i'm misunderstanding, "bd."

Mike, have you noticed how great all these compacts look -- just like real cameras -- until they're turned on? Then that ridiculous, um, extrusion appears on the front. The manufacturers know this: you will have noticed how often the publicity shots show a camera which is turned off (so to speak).

The telescoping lens (presumably a necessity?) throws out the design on every brilliant compact I've used, from the Olympus C5050 to the Panasonic LX3, both aesthetically and practically -- the idea of such cameras being "pocketable" is laughable. Oh, right, you mean when it's turned off.

I invite you to coin a phrase for this syndrome. Nothing too Freudian, of course. We're better than that on TOP.

I'm currently reviewing the DP2. You can find the first part of my review here: http://lensist.blogspot.com/2009/05/sigma-dp2-review-part-1-interface-and.html

It's not what I expected, but it's a great camera in certain ways. Certainly not a DMD or a suitable carry-everywhere camera for me, but excellent for some uses. The fact that AF becomes useless in low light is a big problem.

The Olympus C5060, at least, had a menu option where you could set the power-on focal length, and if you set it to 50mm efl that happened to be the point where the lens was most-retracted, so you got minimal expansion on power-on/off — both less annoying and faster.

Random tip if someone still is using one of these. :)

Mike C.,

I completely agree. But I am more irritated by the practical effects on shooting than I am by the design asethetics. I see two problems:

(1) It takes TIME to extend the lens. This is what really bugs me. If you see something you want to take a picture of, by the time you take the camera out, turn it on and wait for the lens to extend, you will have missed the decisive moment.

In theory, you could just deal with this problem my turning the camera on, extending the lens and walking around with the camera at the ready. Or at least you could if it weren't for problem #2:

(2) Every digital camera I have had that has had an extending/telescoping lens has automatically retracted the lens when the camera enters "sleep" mode. I don't know why. Why not just leave the lens extended in sleep mode, so that you can just tap the shutter release to wake it up and take a picture? But no, that's not the way they work. Instead, to wake up the camera, you tap the shutter release, then wait for the lens to extend and then, if you're lucky, you can take your picture. I HATE THAT! How is that any different from turning the camera off entirely?

This lack of responsiveness, the failure to be "at the ready" all the time, is one of my primary annoyances with digital compacts. Maybe things are different with the recent premium compacts (G10, LX3, etc.) - I can't be sure since I haven't used one in a long time - but if not, this strikes me as near-fatal flaw. I'd rather have a slightly bulkier camera with a lens that is permanently extended, than one that is slow to operate because the lens needs to be extended/retracted between each shooting opportunity.

Regards,
Adam

I've had a DP2 for a bit over a week now. Grabbed it while Canoga camera had them in stock.

It's going to be a love/hate relationship. There is a lot to like; it really is a photographer's P&S without all of those "helpful" modes, filters, etc. And the image quality--very, very film-like. Thus there is a lot more love than hate. The images took me back to my much missed M4P.

Alas, that lovely sensor and lens is housed in a body that contains autofocus that sounds chain-driven, has three different things to do to get into three different sets of menus, and has buttons with lettering that's black on black! I'll chalk it all up to a quaint design aesthetic. Let's not leave out their Sigma Photo Pro software: Dog slow on my Mac but does a credible job. I'll be much happier when Adobe supports their RAW files (right now they have an amazing, uncorrectable and very strong green hue to them).

This camera takes a bit of work to use. I'm a long way off from knowing my way around the beast. It'll be worth the effort.

Oh yeah. The battery life is pretty much non-existent. I've a second battery on the way. I suspect that I will end up with a third or fourth.

Roger

Derek,
Yes my objection is the bokeh's shape and intensity. I'll just have to get a DP2 to see how the out of focus regions can be manipulated. First thing I'd try is a wider f-stop.
bd

Could this be the mysterious missing number 2 camera??

I picked one up in Beijing a week back. Pretty impressive image quality. Slow focusing, slow writing, but not terrible in either regard. I've also had some problems with hard lock-ups, where the only way I could get the thing working again was to remove and reseat the battery. Most seem to be caused by fiddling with the camera buttons when it's trying to write a file.

Links to my DP2 flickr page on my name. Not exceptional shots, but better than nothing to look at.

This is totally off-topic, but I'm surprised to see a LetsGoDigital link here. Are they even credible? A long time back when I first heard of them their "reviews" were nothing more than regurgitated press releases. I boycotted the site since then. It's been a good few years at least.

It's clearly the missing number 2 camera--unless Mike has something sneaky up his sleeve. Disappointing to hear that it's still a bit slow, but I might get one anyway.

number 2 camera is coming in 2 weeks and it is a new k7 :P

Adam,
"(2) Every digital camera I have had that has had an extending/telescoping lens has automatically retracted the lens when the camera enters "sleep" mode. I don't know why. "
It's because the camera has to know how far the lens is extended , where it's focused, how far it's zoomed, .etc before it can take a picture. By retracting the lens the camera can always start in a known state. It would actually take longer to wake up if it had to run the lens back and forth to a known state. Also, if the battery died with the lens out, it would be a little fragile.

Of course you could run the camera in a closed loop mode , but that would make it really slow and probably more expensive.

Mike already has some point & shoots on the list, I'm betting on the
Oly E-620 for the number 2 slot....

Why is that all of the slightly-left-of-center cameras like the Sigma's and the Fuji SLRs take so long between their announcement and arrival on a store shelf? It can't be that these companies are small manufacturers? Fuji owns a piece of everything and Sigma ain't no mom 'n pop business. So what gives?

Of course, rushing a product to market before it is ready for 'prime-time' as Canon did with the 5DII, is not the solution either...

Not to hijack the DP2 news, but both my Canon SD800 and G9 put the display to sleep while leaving the lens extended. YMMV.

To those who already own this camera: Does it have a "snap" or hyperfocal distance setting so you can put it in manual focus mode and shoot without having auto-focus delay so long as the subject is within the hyperfocal distance? I did that for years with rangefinders, and that would make the camera much more desirable to me.

The manual focus is controlled by a small wheel built into the back right of the camera. You use it with your right thumb. The throw isn't too long, so it's pretty easy to get to hyperfocal. The delay on manual focusing is extremely short - it's the autofocus that takes a while.

The button that controls switching from autofocus to manual focus also has a third setting, which I am guessing is hyperfocal setting. Maybe someone with a manual they can read can confirm that. No English manual for download yet, and I haven't yet learned the Chinese for "hyperfocal." :)

Randall,

The third focus setting is close-up limited. It restricts the near distance to about 1 meter to improve AF performance. Which sort of implies the AF hunts a bit.

Roger

@David Boyce:
Can you remember the name/addres of the shop in Hong Kong?
I'm hardly trying (urgent!) to buy a Sigma DP2 here in Shanghai, but it seems to be sold out in whole Shanghai. I might even saw a Chinese couple buying the very last one right in front of my eyes!
Now I hope to get one from HK - but I need to direct a friend of mine to the right shop. Could you, or anyone, kindly help?
Thanks so much!
Sebastian

I can't remember the name, might be DCFever.com, ph 2834 3112 but it was on the 10th floor of Windsor House (in Causeway Bay, opposite Victoria park, near Ikea). Try this link, www.windsorhouse.hk/en_index.asp

good luck

I really appreciate your help. That information should be enough to find the right place. Thanks a lot and yes, I can certainly use some luck!

Sebastian, no problem. If I can help let me know david at southlight dot net. Are you based in Shanghai? Havent been there in a few months. Some interesting galleries there.

Hey David,
Oh lucky me... due to your hint I finally got it. I just called at your place and voilà, the guy has a DP2, though it's his last one, but he's so kind to put in on hold. Now a friend can pick it up for me.
Again, thank you so much!!! Best regards from Shanghai

Sebastian, my pleasure. I'm interested in it myself, let me know how it performs.

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